Court finds man who sprayed rat poison on grocery store food not guilty by insanity


Kyle Bessemmer entering a store to spray rat poison. - FBI
  • FBI
  • Kyle Bessemmer entering a store to spray rat poison.
A man who left rat poison on a lettuce mixture, olives, and avocados in separate incidents at two Ann Arbor-area grocery stores was found not guilty by reason of insanity.

Last week's verdict in Washtenaw County Circuit court comes after the man, Kyle Bessemer, 29, was found competent to stand trial in February. MLive reports that Chief Assistant Prosecutor Steve Hiller clarified that that isn't the same as finding a defendant criminally responsible at the time of the incident.

"It is ... possible for a person to be legally insane at the time of the crime, but after weeks of treatment be stabilized and lucid," Hiller tells MLive.

The FBI, which initially investigated the case, said Bessemer admitted to spraying a mixture of Tomcat mouse poison an alcohol-based hand sanitizer and water onto the food. The poison was found last April at the Ann Arbor-Saline Road Meijer and the Eisenhower Parkway Whole Foods. A Plum Market was also thought to be targeted, but Bessemer was never charged for that incident.

No word on what thoughts motivated Bessemer to commit the bizarre crimes, though he previously said he thought someone was trying to poison him.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.